Confidentiality vs. Privacy
Confidentiality refers to the protections provided to information disclosed in legally-protected or privileged relationships under Texas state law.
Privacy refers to the discretion that will be exercised by the University in the course of any discussion.
All inquiries to the ombuds' office will remain private except in cases of serious threat to life or property or as otherwise required by law. The ombuds does not report the names of those who use the service to anyone without their permission.
- The ombuds works in confidence to resolve problems.
- The ombuds will protect the identity of individuals and their concerns. The ombuds will not disclose having met or talked with a party or parties, without permission of the party or parties.
- The ombuds will take specific action related to an individual's concerns only with the individual's permission and only to the extent permitted.
- If the ombuds pursues an issue systemically, the ombuds will do so without revealing the identity of the complainant or the situation that could be associated with a particular individual(s).
- The ombuds will not violate institutional standards of privacy or confidentiality in the pursuit or provision of information.
- The ombuds maintains information (e.g., notes, phone messages, appointment calendars) in a secure location and manner.
- The ombuds carefully prepares data and/or reports on an anonymous basis to preserve privacy.
- The University will not require access to the ombuds' files for matters that are purely internal to the University.
- All notes and other notes in the student's file belong to the ombuds and the ombuds' office, rather than to any party to an issue. They are only for the use of the ombuds' office.
- Communication with the ombuds does not constitute notice to the University.
Limits of Confidentiality
The ombuds cannot guarantee confidentiality when:
- An ombuds' office staff member witnesses a crime.
- An ombuds' office staff member is told by a user of the office about the intent of an individual to harm him/herself or another.